About 100,000 protesters, led by trade unionists, have rallied in the Italian capital Rome against the policies of the new coalition government.
Wielding red flags and placards, they urged the centre-left Prime Minister, Enrico Letta, to scrap austerity measures and focus on job creation.
Public trust in his fragile coalition with the centre-right is dropping, opinion polls suggest.
The country is experiencing its longest recession in more than 40 years.
National debt is now about 127% of annual economic output, second only to Greece in the eurozone.